The Cincinnati Reds got some good news about Brandon Williamson, but also delivered some bad news about Brandon Williamson on Tuesday. The good news is that he felt a bit better after dealing with some shoulder soreness when he was pulled from his last start. But the bad news here is that he’s going to begin the season on the injured list and will not throw for at least a few days. Mark Sheldon of Reds.com is also reporting that Andrew Abbott has made the rotation, which seems like it’s directly related to the Williamson news.

With Abbott in the rotation, that sets things up for the start of the season to be Frankie Montas, Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, Nick Martinez, and Abbott as the starting five. What happens if and when Nick Lodolo is ready to come off of the injured list (currently expected to be April 10th) has yet to be stated publicly.

It does seem to be a bit strange that arguably the best starting pitcher for the Reds in 2023 had to wait until an injury to someone else on March 19th to be told he had made the rotation in 2024, but Andrew Abbott is in for the time being. He’s coming off of a rookie season where he made 21 starts and threw 109.1 innings with a 3.87 ERA, 44 walks, and 120 strikeouts.

If it feels like the injuries are piling up for the Reds, it might be because they are. Matt McLain was scratched from Monday night’s game while also dealing with a sore shoulder. There was some good news out of Arizona today on that front as manager David Bell told C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic that he was in the lineup tomorrow, but that he may give him an extra day just to be safe. Rosecrans also noted that outfielder Jake Fraley was feeling fine after fouling a ball off of himself and having to exit the game on Monday.

33 Responses

  1. Melvin

    “It does seem to be a bit strange that arguably the best starting pitcher for the Reds in 2023 had to wait until an injury to someone else on March 19th to be told he had made the rotation in 2024”

    Definitely

    • Ksdavis

      But Abbott has not pitched well this spring.

      • LDS

        Not too many Reds pitchers have. Martinez and Lodolo among the starters. The rest of the better performers have already been reassigned.

      • CI3J

        A lot of very good players put up poor spring stats.

        If you built teams just based on spring stats, a lot of very good players wouldn’t make their teams.

      • Melvin

        I wouldn’t say Greene pitched all that well today.

      • DaveCT

        spring
        noun
        spring, in climatology, season of the year between winter and summer during which temperatures gradually rise

        training
        noun
        the process of learning the skills you need to do a particular job or activity

      • LDS

        CI3J, that’s true. But the team should appear fundamentally sound, motivated, and focused. The team is repeating the same mistakes they’ve been making for the last several years: base running, fielding, pitch selection, pitch identification, etc. It’s like the team put no effort into addressing their deficiencies and spent the offseason partying. It’s been years since the Reds displayed true accountability. On a positive note, it will make the season much easier to stomach. My expectations aren’t inflated.

      • DaveCT

        LDS, I’d say losing your job is a high form of accountability.

        Votto, Moose, Shogo, Senzel, Barrero, Acquino, Winker, India, to some degree, Newman, Casali, Lopez, Law, Naquin, Solano, Reynolds, Hendrix, Moran, Almora, etc all lost their jobs.

        If accountability means benching or being sent down, then we have a philosophical issue with the subject of punishment. And I’d say, in 2024, spanking your players is not a solution.

      • LDS

        A manager that doesn’t hold his team accountable DURING the season is not a manager at all. Yes, sometimes players should be benched. Sometimes they should be sent down. Sometimes they simply need a quick in the britches. But the bottom line is that the Reds keeping doing the same things over and over each season and things never improve. Different players, different years, same outcome. It’s acceptable to the ownership because they keep doubling down on mediocrity.

      • Grover

        Performance in spring training, unless its injury related, should be way down on the reasons to sit or start someone

      • greenmtred

        We cover this ground frequently. The fact is that we don’t know about accountability on the Reds: it wouldn’t necessarily or advisedly come in a form visible to fans. And the point several people made about Friedl diving for a ball in spring training has relevance here: sports require instinctual reaction, and players–especially young players–don’t always modify their reactions to reflect an in-game situation, no matter how much they’re cautioned and reprimanded. I imagine it’s a delicate balance: you don’t want players spending much time weighing options in the middle of a game.

      • LDS

        I’m not talking about ST accountability. I’m talking about the team generally. And we know a lot about accountability – if the team continues to make the same mistakes year end and year out, regardless of the personnel, there’s no accountability, at neither the player level, the management level, or the organization level.

      • greenmtred

        I was talking about accountability in general, and I question, given the nature of the sorts of in-game decisions a player has to make, whether repeating a mistake is a sure sign of lack of accountability, or whether it is simply a sign of both inexperience and of a game which relies on split-second reaction.

      • LDS

        @Greenmtred, it could be either. But where’s the coaching? Inexperience isn’t an excuse.

      • greenmtred

        Of course inexperience is an excuse or, rather, an explanation. Don’t ignore how many decisions a player makes are of the split-second variety, and many of the failed ones would have worked absent good, heads-up execution by the opponent.

  2. Derek

    Anyone worried about Alexis Diaz? I sure am. He was horrible down the stretch last season, and has been brutal so far in spring training. Very concerning.

  3. RedsGettingBetter

    Hopefully Montas, Greene, Ashcraft and Abbott will be solid starters so we don’t have to hold a crucifix in our hands and praying when they make their outings…

    • Doc

      “Hopefully” doesn’t provide a very strong basis for confidence.

  4. MK

    I thought Abbott should have been the Opening Day starter based on ‘23 performance. Strange to me it had to be announced he was a starter, should have been a given.

    • David

      Based on comments from David Bell the other day, he and Williamson were battling it out for the 5th starter. Since Williamson is “out” and on the DL, for the time being, Abbott, by default, is the 5th starter. Lodolo was not mentioned as one of the Big 5.
      He may start the season in the bullpen as a “long reliever”, or may stay in Arizona for an extended Spring training, to build up his arm strength, since he started pitching late.
      The rotation will be shaky the first month, but as of right now, I am really worried about Hunter Greene. He has frankly looked really lousy this Spring, and has not been really very effective. What if this extends into several starts in the regular season?
      Martinez, I think, has actually looked the best. Montas may be rounding into shape (but I think the is going to be innings limited this season), Ashcraft and Abbott have been….not lousy. They may look sharper during their last starts in Spring Training.

  5. AMDG

    Abbott was awesome over his first 10 or 11 starts, but over his final 10, his ERA was over 6.00 (surrendering an OPS near 0.900).

    His innings usage jumped by 50% last year, and he seemed to fizzle down the stretch with the added workload.

    I would assume that, plus his struggles this spring training, are what cost his a “lock” in the rotation?

    • Doug Gray

      People much smarter than myself seem to all believe this is a huge mistake.

      • BK

        It is will be perceived as a huge mistake by those who believe that union solidarity is paramount. However, they’re a couple of years away from CBA negotiations, so timing is as good as it can be and it’s becoming much more obvious that the union has been focused on delivering record contracts for elite players at the expense of the majority of the union. Smallel market teams are avoiding long term contracts because the risk/reward equation now tells them that the best chance to compete every year is to avoid them. Veteran players continue to get the lion’s share of payroll but no longer are the most productive players. Any smart union member should be unhappy. This is all quite predictable.

      • MBS

        A lot of smart people don’t like things being shaken up, and a lot of smart people do.

      • Doug Gray

        Perhaps. But the smart people I’m talking about are people who are union specialists in one way or another (journalists who specialize in union coverage, labor lawyers, etc).

        I do know one thing is certain – Rob Manfred and his cronies are thrilled beyond belief with what’s taking place.

  6. Jimbo44CN

    Watching as the injuries keep coming, I just keep thinking that spring training is at least a week to 10 days too long. The injury bug is not just hitting us, but most teams. Too much time in practice can be a bad thing in any sport. Has to be some balance.

    • Doc

      I don’t think ST is too long. I think it is not being set up to accomplish the goal of preparing for the season. I don’t think players prepare to be ready for ST. In days gone by starting pitchers were ready by opening day to handle the 7-9 inning workload. By late spring training they were throwing 6, 7, maybe more, innings. Position players were ready to play nine innings on opening day.

      Now there are 60+ players with ST invites for a team that can only carry 26 players into the season. Even today, with a week to go in ST, the Reds have 35-40 players still in ST, if you count those who were sent down, but have reappeared to play a couple of innings with the big league club.

      I know Doug, and others, frequently respond to concerns about pitchers, for example, who are not performing well in ST with the balm of ‘It’s ST and pitchers are working on things”. I was chided with such a response in a Joe Boyle vs Hunter Greene post a few days back. But can anyone honestly say that Hunter Greene looks ready for the season, or that whatever he is working on is showing any hint of success? His next to last start before it all counts he gives up 7 runs in 4.1 innings. His 2 walks give him 9 BB in 12 innings. And don’t excuse him based on a defensive issue. The great pitchers manage to cinch the belt a little tighter, bear down, and work out of things that happen, and things always happen. Plus, those runs were earned runs.

      Does Alexis Diaz look ready for the season? Does his 9.53 ERA and two runs in 1.2 yesterday give anybody warm fuzzies a week before it all counts?

      Bell attributed Williamson’s aches to typical mid ST soreness, but we’re 2/3 of the way through ST. Shouldn’t be ‘typical’ soreness that late in ST.

      Maybe protecting investment in players has resulted in coddling to the point that they all get hurt despite less than a full workload. It would be curious to see how many ST innings the starters threw in ST 30-50 years ago. Reds starters have barely thrown enough innings each this spring to cover a complete game, and even at that two of them only got innings due to a ST rule that allowed them to be pulled when they were getting toasted, then return the next inning for more work. That won’t happen next week when it counts.

      • greenmtred

        When I was a kid, my understanding was that players used the off-season to relax, fish, hunt, maybe play golf. If, that is, they didn’t have to work to augment their pay. It’s my understanding that now players have off-season conditioning programs and do continue with some baseball activities. I don’t have a clear memory of how many guys got injured or how effective anybody was early in the season and lacking that, I can’t evaluate the current situation. Maybe players benefited from the time off. Maybe they pitched more innings because they pitched differently. The sky might be falling, but I’ll wait until well into the season before I decide.

  7. Brad Legg

    I knew this team needed another starter. Is that 3 possible starters not ready for the season? I hope I am wrong. Will the Reds be depleted again this season?

    • MBS

      We have enough pitchers, we just didn’t get a TOR type to lead the rotation. Phillips is the 8th, Richardson is the 9th, and Spiers is the 10th. To find a journeyman like Kennedy you have to go to the 12th spot, behind Roa 11.

  8. Pete

    Maybe it’s just me, but during David Bell’s tenure, it seems like the Reds always finish spring training flat and continue that into the regular season. Hope to God I’m wrong.

    Really don’t like what I’m seeing out of the team right now. No facet of the game is acceptable at this point. Maybe they will turn it on once the bell rings.